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Arctic Panzer Wolf

Three Floyds Brewing Co.
Munster, IN
USA
http://threefloyds.com/

Style: Imperial/Double IPA

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)


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February kicks off the third annual International Beer Month here at BeerDorks.com, but I’m going rogue with my first review, from Munster, Indiana’s Three Floyds. The last time I checked, Munster was still included on all maps of the USA, but I can justify my selection with the following twisted logic:

1) The Arctic is a region of the world outside of the United States, and thus international.
2) Panzer is a type of German tank, and thus international.
3) Wolves, or “lobos,” are found in a number of countries outside of the United States, and thus international.

With the “Blizzard of the Century” currently bearing down on Milwaukee, it seems like the perfect night to crack open my bottle of Le Arctic Panzer Lobo, saving the REAL international stuff for later in the month when I don’t actually have any time to review anything, and thus provide zero contribution to International Beer Month. But I digress.

Plenty has been said on this site about the brilliance of Three Floyds, and despite an eclectic lineup of all shapes and sizes, I still most prefer FFF when they delve into the world of hops. Alpha King remains an all-time favorite, and Dreadnaught is one of the best imperial IPA’s on the market. Arctic Panzer Wolf is another imperial IPA from FFF and is listed one-time brew, thus providing no threat to the life of Dreadnaught, a year-‘round brew, or Apocalypse Cow, a seasonal brew.

Arctic Panzer Wolf, which comes only in bomber form, features a label that is straight from a comic book or a 1980’s heavy metal album. Very cool, but not really my style. Regardless, I couldn’t care less what the label looks solar powered toys like as long as the beverage inside is top quality. After popping open the cap on my bomber and inhaling the hoppy aromas wafting from the neck, I became oblivious to reality and turned on the Retro Rock channel on Music Choice, cranking some Slayer in a hop-induced hallucination.

Arctic Panzer Wolf pours well, with a frothy white head of over an inch that slowly dissipates, leaving a slight creamy lace throughout and quite a bit of residue on the sides. Unfiltered, there’s huge amounts of sediment in the glass that conveniently sinks to the bottom, making a final swig treacherous. A beautiful golden brown/copper hue, APW looks as good as it smells, with strong aromas of American hops tempered slightly by some light, sugary malt in the background.

The flavor is everything you’d expect: hops overload, but, in true FFF fashion, a well-balanced, incredibly tasty brew. Initial flavors are tongue-numbing, bitter, piney, Norhtwest hops that give the brew a consistent spicy, biting presence that is at the same time pleasant and floral. While hops dominate, this isn’t a one-hit wonder, much like many of the cheesy hair bands that had album covers reminiscent of APW’s label. A nice backbone of sugary malt gives a slight molasses and caramel sweetness to the brew, as well as noticeable hints of citrus. Arctic Panzer Wolf has a bit more body than Dreadnaught, but ultimately I prefer the light, effervescent bite of the original FFF imperial IPA.

While the weather outside is reminiscent of an Arctic evening, this is in reality another wonderful creation from an American brewer. Arctic Panzer Wolf is the latest in a long line of powerful, tasty, unique brews from Three Floyds and once again proves that they are quite adept with hops. Ultimately, I give it four mugs as I feel that Dreadnaught is still a superior brew, though there’s no doubt that Arctic Panzer Wolf is very nearly worthy of an elite five mug rating. Check it out before it’s too late, as supplies are quickly dwindling and it’s another fine example of the brilliance that is Three Floyds.

Cheers!

Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on March 29, 2011.
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